The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed today a €400,000 contribution from Spain to provide much-needed food assistance to more than 34,000 vulnerable Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, most of them women and children, according to a WFP press release.
The support is vital as Gazan families cope with a rapid deterioration in conditions. Already affected by severe movement and access restrictions, cycles of violent escalation and years of humanitarian and socio-economic calamity, a spike in COVID-19 cases and associated restrictions is having an outsized impact on the most vulnerable, said WFP, winner of this year’s Noble Peace Prize.
“We are grateful for Spain’s longstanding support to the most vulnerable Palestinians to improve their nutrition and strengthen their resilience,” says WFP Acting Country Director in Palestine Hildegard Lingnua. “At a time when challenges are at their greatest, continued food assistance is a fundamental safety net for people who have exhausted all of their resources, which could push them to compromise their access to food.”
The funds will be used to provide electronic food vouchers to the families for one month to purchase diverse nutritious food of their choice from 200 retail shops across the Gaza Strip. WFP has been using and expanding the use of vouchers since 2011 based on evidence demonstrating its greater effect on people’s food security status and positive spill-over to the local economy. Vouchers give people more freedom of choice, dignity and the flexibility to collect their entitlements at their own convenience.
“Spain is extremely proud and gratified at our long-term partnership with the WFP, aimed to provide assistance to the most vulnerable families in Gaza, especially in this particular year marked by COVID19,” said Eva Suarez, Head of Spanish Cooperation in Palestine. “It is and it will continue to be an honor to join forces with the WFP, recently honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Thanks to Spain and other donors, WFP has ensured the provision of food assistance for more than 345,000 non-refugees reliant on regular food aid due to severe insecurity and poverty. WFP has provided food vouchers to an additional 95,000 people most exposed to the pandemic, including the elderly, people with disabilities, women and children. Fresh donor funding is critical if WFP is to maintain its assistance to the most vulnerable in Gaza and the West Bank.